James River Increases Thanksgiving Outreach by 300 Meals

Nov 20, 2017

Two volunteers carry a Thanksgiving basket out to a waiting car
Credit Bailey Vassalli / KSMU

James River Church says its Thanksgiving Basket Outreach program is growing, sending more than 1,000 packages of food to families in need.

Volunteers gathered Saturday at the church’s three locations to pack the baskets. This is the 14th year of the program, says Pastor David Lindell

“This outreach has grown exponentially through the years, last year we did a little over 900 Thanksgiving baskets, this year – 1200.”

The church works with local charities and schools across Springfield and as far as Spokane. Once done assembling the baskets, volunteers loaded them into cars and distributed throughout the region.

Each basket includes a whole smoked turkey, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, rolls, canned vegetables, and other traditional Thanksgiving favorites.

According to Pastor Lindell, “during the holiday season, the reality is peoples maybe don’t have more needs, but they feel their needs.”

Volunteer Ashley Kalil started helping with the program two years ago. Some basket recipients, she says, had been down on their luck and needed to spend money on things like rent before they can put on Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving Baskets waiting for pick up outside the West Campus of James River Church
Credit Bailey Vassalli / KSMU

“Being able to see those families have that opportunity and be a hero, especially to their kids that they have a turkey on the table, is a huge thing for them.”

Pastor Lindell said that as a church, they want to focus on tangible outreach, such as these baskets to connect with the community. He adds that he’s excited to see this program grow and reach even more families in need this holiday season.

“As we’ve had opportunity to show the love of Christ, we’ve tried to step in and do as much as we can to help people in need.”

Kalil encourages people in the community to find a way to volunteer this holiday season.

“I recommended to anyone who’s not involved in giving back to the community in Springfield; they find a way to do it.”